Flames October Prospect NHLE 2013-14

 


Via The NHL

 Via the NHL

Another year, another year of monthly NHLE updates.

Go here for a primer on NHLE if you need it, otherwise, hit the jump and we’ll get started.

Forwards

Forwards GP Points Translation NHLE
Sean Monahan 12 10 1.00 68.3
John Gaudreau 5 8 0.41 53.8
Émile Poirier 16 26 0.30 40.0
Sven Baertschi 11 5 1.00 37.3
Bill Arnold 5 5 0.41 33.6
Mark Jankowski 5 5 0.41 33.6
Corban Knight 10 9 0.44 32.5
Morgan Klimchuk 16 20 0.30 30.8
Ben Hanowski 10 8 0.44 28.9
Coda Gordon 17 18 0.30 26.0
Roman Horak 9 6 0.44 24.1
Max Reinhart 10 6 0.44 21.7
Josh Jooris 9 5 0.44 20.0
Markus Granlund 6 3 0.44 18.0
Matt DeBlouw 4 1 0.41 8.4
Turner Elson 7 1 0.44 5.2
Kenny Agostino 2 0 0.41 0.0
Tim Harrison 6 0 0.41 0.0
Mike Ferland 8 0 0.44 0.0

Monahan’s scoring pace is unsustainable, full stop. The team is scoring goals at a rate they haven’t in like three seasons (3 GPG) and will likely regress to anywhere between 2.5 and 2.75 by the end of the season. That means his assist production will likely go down, and his shooting percentage is likely to decrease from where it was at the time of writing (~19.4%) to about 12% or 13%. However, that’s not going to make him unique on the team, pretty much everyone on the NHL roster right now (with the exceptions of Baertschi, Galliardi and Backlund) will likely see a little drop in production overall. As long as he keeps his shot stats up, I’ll be happy with even as little as 35 points (depending on PP time).

Gaudreau’s scoring pace, however, is totally sustainable. He’s the best player in the NCAA and he plays on a powerhouse team. In fact, I’d actually put money on him increasing his NHLE by the end of the year. I watched the Minnesota – BC game last week and there wasn’t a time that Gaudreau was on the ice that I didn’t notice him immediately. His size provides zero impediment to his game right now.

Poirier’s scoring pace isn’t totally surprising, given his point splits from last year. I think he drops back a little but he’s tracking like a first line winger would right now. I believe that he and Klimchuk will be within about 3 points of each other at the end of the year.

Sven’s right around where I thought he’d be. Expect his scoring pace to stay consistent: even though team scoring might decrease, he’s only shooting about 8% right now and I expect he’ll start to get a little more PP time. To my eye, he is looking excellent in all factes of the game. He is still on track to be a top-6 forward.

Arnold plays with Gaudreau, so add that plus his team plus the fact that he’s usually good for around a point per game and I see his scoring staying pretty consistent. He’s still tracking to be a bottom-6 centre, but a good one.

Jankowski’s numbers look okay right now, but he’s only averaging 2.8 SH/G (I’d like at least 3.25). His SH% is also almost 30%, which is huge. Expect a little regression in GPG. He’s also been a bit unlucky on the assists part of it, though – only 1 on 24 goals means you can expect a few more apples. I feel as though his scoring pace as a whole will stay around 30 unless he increases his shots a substantial amount. While that’s a good jump year-over-year, it’s still a little bit behind the pace we’d want to see from a potential top-6 centreman.

Knight and Hanowski are scoring at a pretty good pace, but not one that is top-6 material simply because their shooting percentages are pretty high right now. Abbotsford as a whole struggles to score (22 goals at even strength in 10 games, which is garbage) so don’t expect them to decrease a significant in terms of production. As their SH% increases, (hopefully) Abbotsford will start scoring more, which will lead to more assists for them.

Klimchuk’s raw totals are a little low, but he’s in on 44.3% of team scoring and his goals-per-game are down a little, which is likely a function of luck. The WHL doesn’t keep shot data but I can’t see any reason why he’d be shooting less this year than last, so that means you should expect a bit of a bump in his goals based on his GPG from last year. He’s leading his team in points and only has 2 penalty minutes on the season.

Gordon’s scoring at an okay pace, but his skating will likely hold him back from making an impact at the next level.

Granlund, Horak, Reinhart, and Jooris are all falling victim to the low scoring Heat for one reason or another. Granlund, Horak and Reinhart are among the team’s shot leaders but they’re not getting the bounces (all have SH% under 10%). Expect a little bump from those three down the road. The shot volume they’re getting is very impressive. Jooris, on the other hand, only has 10 shots (not good) but is shooting at 10%, so you can still expect a marginal increase down the line.

Agostino hasn’t played enough games yet (only 2). Ferland, Harrison, Elson and DeBlouw are all performing about as good as a replacement level AHLer would.

Defense

Defensemen GP Points Translation NHLE
John Gilmour 5 5 0.41 33.6
Brett Kulak 17 16 0.30 23.2
Ryan Culkin 15 13 0.30 21.3
Eric Roy 15 11 0.30 18.0
Tyler Wotherspoon 9 2 0.44 8.0
Rushan Rafikov 21 9 0.19 6.7
Mark Cundari 6 1 0.44 6.0
Keegan Kanzig 13 1 0.30 1.9
Patrick Sieloff 2 0 0.44 0.0
John Ramage 9 0 0.44 0.0

Gilmour’s totals are a little inflated becuase he’s got a couple points on the PP and Providence has scored 24 goals in just 5 games. If the team keeps up that scoring pace, Gilmour might be able to keep his pace up. However, I don’t think that’s super likely as his SH% should come down a tiny bit more and Providence probably won’t continue to score 5 goals per game the rest of the season. Still, a positive result for the Soph.

Kulak and Culkin are both in their 20 year old seasons in the CHL, so while this level of production is nice early on, take it with a little grain of salt. We’ll re-evaluate in November.

Roy has had a fantastic start to the year on a brutal Wheat Kings team. He’s in on about 22% of the team’s scoring (very healthy for a 5th round defenseman) and to my eye he’s playing in all situations. Something like this current pace being kept up is very likely.

Wotherspoon and Cundari have reportedly been fine on the farm but like the forwards they’ve suffered with the team’s lack of scoring. Both should increase their totals soon.

Rafikov doesn’t have overwhelming totals but the MHL is a garbage league and he’s the team leader in points by a defenseman. Hopefully he can move up to the KHL at some point this season.

Kanzig’s not looking too good at this point of the season. He’s actually behind the miniscule scoring pace he had last year. Defensemen who don’t score at least .2 PPG in the CHL don’t have much of a hope of making it to the NHL. I understand that “he wasn’t drafted for his point totals” but it stands to reason that a guy with enough hockey talent to be drafted in the 3rd round would be able to at least get to .2 PPG in a league where right now he’s ostensibly better than at least 50% of the players around him. He is not tracking well, and it’s not his team’s fault, either: he’s been in on 1.6% of the team’s goals.

Sieloff hasn’t played enough games yet as he’s fighting an infection in his cheekbone after minor surgery. Go fighting! Ramage is not performing well at all by this measure and I can’t find any positives right now.

Fearless Prediction

We will see a significant jump from the line of Horak – Granlund – Reinhart: at least 10 points between the three of them.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

    • McRib

      Huh. I watched and read a few places that were high on Poirier. So I wasn’t too, too surprised that Calgary picked him. Was he really that far off the chart?

          • mattyc

            nope, and you’re free to have whatever opinion of him you want, as are whoever at TSN may have suggested he’s an ‘a-hole’ (I’m going to *speculate* that wasn’t their wording). But recognize you are presenting hearsay as evidence in the name of a convenient narrative.

            @piscera – I’m not advocating there couldn’t have been concerns(hockey or otherwise) that made his position fall. My issue is with the baseless speculation of his character from someone who may or may not have even ever met the kid.

          • piscera.infada

            D00d, I have no opinion on the guy, don’t shoot the messenger. I’m not making a narrative since, you know, I had nothing to do with his drafting placement.

            You, on the other hand, claim to know him better than me so I’ll presume you’re the one with the narrative since you seem to be defending him?

          • piscera.infada

            Unfair? Maybe. But I’ve heard the same thing from friends who have played with him and against him. Apparently he has quite the reputation as a selfish player. That said, people do tend to hate on people who are better than them.

            I do know one thing for sure, Shinkaruk was passed up by several teams (relative to his projected spot), including his home-town team – that usually gives you some indication that there was something about him or his game that turned some teams off.

    • piscera.infada

      I was wondering if points are a good indication of the future success of defensemen? I know that there are some elite D-men in the NHL who don’t tally many points. Is there a strong correlation between points in other leagues and future success in the NHL? I can understand this being a good benchmark for forwards but can see it being a little less accurate for D. (Though I have not studied the data thus phrase it as a question rather than a criticism…) Finally are there other metrics that are used to measure D-men or is NHLE considered the best tool?

      I agree with others who suggest that our forward crop looks stronger than D. I’m also a bit disappointed by Ferland. He looked so good in camp…

      • We linked a study here previously when Kanzig was drafted and basically if you can’t score at a basic level in juniors as a defender, your chances of making it in the show weren’t 0, but they were rapidly approaching zero. It was based on previous drafts, each players PPG pace in junior and how much they played in the NHL afterward (if at all).

        Kanzig might be an exception to the rule. every so often, someone like Hal Gill makes the show. I guess we’ll see.

      • Parallex

        generally, players who turn out to be elite are pretty adept at scoring at a good pace in junior, regardless of position.

        in the chl, the threshold tends to be about .2ppg for defensemen.

        just an fyi – this only includes scoring from october as I wrote it on friday night.

        I didn’t like the poirier pick immediately but after taking a quick glance at his splits I was okay with it. I totally believe montreal was after him now.

        @everton fc: i said i expected him to keep it up 🙂

        as for the colborne thing, I think it’s he who should be moved to wing, not backlund. however as that likely won’t happen i’m more okay with backlund playing wing in the top-9 than i am c on the 4th.

        glad everyone liked it

          • Parallex

            i believe that c is the position that has the most impact on the game. backlund is a better player than colborne, so he should be playing the more impactful position.

            backlund’s also just as good, if not better, at faceoffs.

        • everton fc

          Saw that after I posted, Justin. But had to bail, as other things came up.

          I’ve been high on Roy for a while. Glad he’s getting the kudos he deserves. He’s a good kid. Good work ethic.

          And I agree on the Colborne on the wing suggestion.

          Someone mentioned Ferland being a disappointment; Ward hasn’t said anything negative about him yet. Lots of young guys down there. Lots of rotation. He’ll be fine, me thinks. Remember, he didn’t start playing the game until he was much older than the average kid.

    • McRib

      It’s not the KHL he is playing in the MHL. Which as Justin Azevedo points out is a garbage hockey league it is basically a Russian wannabe version of Major Junior except each team has way too many 20 year-old players that don’t have the skill to ever make it any further. All of the younger players end up getting buried sitting on the bench mostly, because teams insist on playing these shitty overages all game. The CHL rule of only three overagers per team is a very underrated method of ensuring top young players in North America get ice time to prove themselves this Russian league is completely the opposite they only play mediocre 20 year-olds and ensure the younger more skilled players with higher potential don’t develop at the right pace. Then by the time these players hit 20 their progress has completly stalled and they end up as medicore 20 year-olds.

    • McRib

      It’s not the KHL he is playing in the MHL. Which as Justin Azevedo points out is a garbage hockey league it is basically a Russian wannabe version of Major Junior except each team has way too many 20 year-old players that don’t have the skill to ever make it any further. All of the younger players end up getting buried sitting on the bench mostly, because teams insist on playing these shitty overages all game. The CHL rule of only three overagers per team is a very underrated method of ensuring top young players in North America get ice time to prove themselves this Russian league is completely the opposite they play mediocre 20 year-olds and ensure the younger more skilled players with higher potential don’t develop at the right pace.

  • Captain Ron

    I’m loving Poirier right now. 29 points in 18 games plus 46 PIM. I haven’t watched him play but he seems like the kind of guy that can score but also plays with an edge. Like burrows or marchand. Those types of players are very valuable.

    It looks like the flames are doing a good job of building a team full of diverse players. The have a small pure skill guys, big skill guys (monohan), stay at home defensemen, pesty forwards. All sorts of players. Our prospects are looking excellent. Not to mention they still have a solid group of veteran leadership which is critical for a young team to have success.

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Agreed, but to me it’s his speed that jumps out right away when watching him. His wheels are amazing and yet I’ve read scouting reports that described him as being only average in the speed dept.

      I sometimes wonder how many of these anonymous scouts that are polled for their opinions puposely feed out disinformation.

      • McRib

        “I’ve read scouting reports that described him as being only average in the speed dept.”

        I think that’s why so many people didn’t have Emile Poirier as high as he should have been in their draft rankings last season. Because people I talked to in the Ottawa Area that had watched him during the playoffs (and publications like McKeens & Red Line Report) said it was incredible he basically gained a full step and a half on his stride last year mid-season.

        Anyone who watched him at the beginning of the year, but not as often in the second half would have missed the boat on him completely last year. It’s rare for a kid to train during the season, but I’m told he work out extensively and gained significant leg strength during the year and his entire game just went to another level.

        I think some of these “average speed dept.” are carry over reports from scouts that obviously didn’t watched him often enough in the second half last year, because anyone who did said he was a potential legitimate future first line homerun. When people like Red Line Report were saying in their draft guide that Poirier could be the “biggest steal in the draft” and “in two months if the season was longer he would be a Top. 10 pick”. Yet other scouts have him as a middling second round pick you get the picture.

  • Emir

    Poirier is doing amazing and our forward prospects in general seem very decent.

    I was doing a quick count the other day and the Flames have 14 forwards aged 24 and under, from Backlund and Baerstchi to Monahan, Granlund, Knight, Bouma, Klimchuk etc. who all stand a reasonable chance of playing in the NHL in at least some capacity. This is terrific.

    The Flames prospects regarding young D on the other hand, are not so great and while I normally abhor drafting by position, the Flames are going to have to do something more to concentrate on adding legit young defenders into their system.

  • Emir

    Awesome read. Great article Justin.

    to see poirer do this well is awesome. I hope it continues. Nice to see we have more than one thing to focus on these days.

    remember the dark days of nemisz? *shudder*

    • Emir

      There’s nothing wrong with Backlund. He’s the Flames best possession player and has while not being an offensive heavy weight, he has enough offensive ability along with his understanding of the game to provide the perfect complimentary ‘defensive conscience’ between two highly skilled wingers.

      Playing him with goons is just plain silly.

      • McRib

        I agree:”there’s nothing wrong with Backlund”, (you don’t trade for a player like Abdelkader without giving something decent up).
        However Backlund is not at all the type of player that fits in with the Flames right now, but I think he is a Detroit type of player.
        WW

        • SmellOfVictory

          Why the hell do you want to trade the Flames’ best two-way centre for a winger who is older and worse at hockey? He’s been playing with Pavel ****ing Datsyuk and Henrik God-Damned Zetterberg, and he’s only got 6 points in 15 games, and he’s worse than Backlund defensively.

  • yomamen11

    Rushan Rafikov actually have 10 points (+1 assist),but he earns it just yesterday I think, but John Ramage has one point totally so dont take this hard earned point away from him! Its not nice :o)

  • McRib

    “{On Corbin Knight & Ben Hanowski} As their SH% increases, (hopefully) Abbotsford will start scoring more, which will lead to more assists for them.”

    Well considering Corbin Knight is tied for 4th in AHL rookie scoring (only behind very legitimate prospects like Nikita Kucherov, Ryan Strome and Vincent Trocheck) and we expect his points to increase I would say he is off to a decent start in the AHL.

    It’s funny how development & rookie camps can cause everyone to jump off a players bandwagon like what happened with Corbin Knight and really misconstrue some players talent, because frankly what does someone like Corbin Knight have to prove in one of those camps like the Penticton Rookie Tournament?

    Ben Hanowski is 12th in AHL Rookie scoring to start the season as well.

  • McRib

    Looks like Poirier is off to a better start than Shinkaruk so far, though Shinkaruk hasn’t really played as much as Poirier. Be really interesting to see how that plays out.

    Good to hear that Jankowski isn’t doing all bad, could be better, but should hopefully not make picking him the embarassment some people made that pick out to be. I still like the risky pick however looking at what Maatta is doing in Pittsburg and our woes with our 5/6 D, it’s kinda disheartening not to have him.

    • McRib

      Olli Maatta is playing in a great situation in Pittsburgh the argument could be made that he would not be doing nearly as well in the Flames System at this point.

      If he is playing very sheltered minutes like Beau Bennett did last year it could speed up development significantly to be perceived as being much better than actual reality would suggest.

  • McRib

    I just think it’s great that we actually have a team worth talking about AND legit prospects worth talking about. The bottom line is that Feaster and co. are doing an excellent job with this team. Sure there may be things not everyone agrees with but all in all this team is fun to watch, they compete every night, they have youth on the team and an abundant of youth all over the minor leagues. It’s a great time to be a flames fan.

  • McRib

    My opinion on Jankowski is that even if he doesn’t pan out as an every day NHLer I’m OK with the draft pick. When you’re picking high risk high reward players sometimes they don’t pan out. I liked the attitude of swinging for a homerun. If they strikeout then at least they went for it. That’s fine by me.

      • SmellOfVictory

        He was slated to go mid-2nd round at the latest, and it was expected that one of the teams in the mid-20s was going to take him if Calgary didn’t. I wouldn’t call that “over your head and to the outside”.

        • everton fc

          Sure he was, but when the team that drafts him comes out right after selecting him and states that he’s at least 5 years away and a guy like Teravainen is sitting there and Pierre McQuire is screaming that Maatta is sitting there, that’s exactly what it is.

          I hope he works out, I truly do, not his fault he was taken where he was. If he turns into a legit top 6 player by whenever, fantastic.

          That said, I still think that if he does make it, it’s going to be an 8 year development curve and that he still won’t be as good as players rated higher than him with far shorter development curves.

    • Beats going for the safe pick *cough*NEMIZ*cough* and striking out anyhow. I like the outside of the box thinking. Gaudreau, Jankowski, Poirier. These were all out of the box picks.

      I think the great thing with Jankowski is he has a good 3 years of improvement in him. I hope that he progresses. Maybe he won’t in reality. But so far he has shown progress from last year if this continues this season there’s definite hope.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    So exciting to be a fan right now. Combine the deep prospect pool with the current on ice play… we might have something very special brewing over the next few years. Hope Burke doesn’t screw it up.

  • RedMan

    I like Cammilari staying around to mentor youth – instead of trading him. we need SOME mentors – who do we keep?

    Is it fair to say that Edmonton is an example of a team the jettisons too many vets?

    I’d say:

    shop/move stajan, glencross, Jackman and McGratton

    keep Cammi, Galliardi, Huddler, Stempniak. D Jones

    • piscera.infada

      I think we need to be very aware with what is happening up North. I laugh because we are so critical on some of our drafting & in particular Janko. Geez, this kid was drafted twenty something not top 8. I never expected the pedigree of a Monahan or Sven. In fact you can see the difference in pedigree between our 13th Sven & 6th Mons. We need to relax on this debate & give Janko some time, especially now that we have a lot of other prospects trending so well.

      But look at the Oil, 3 1st overalls in a row, not to mention their 2nd rounders could also be construed as late 1st rounders & their rebuild looks like it just started because they had fire sold off everything veteran & didn’t replace the higher end vets. That & giving their young guns too much money too soon anticipating they are going to be superstars. Had they bridged Hall & Eberles contracts, they could have afforded to sign or trade for established top 6 players to transition their young stars.
      I think Buffalo is about to make the same mistake, they sound like they are jettisoning every vet.

      So who to keep should be a discussion on itself & possibly what players should we target for the mega cap space we have while transitioning our future young stars. I haven’t been so excited about Flames hockey for quite some time, we finally have some talent & we have the tools & the ability to put this puzzle together.

      • Yeah, I boldly predicted several times that the Oilers would be shooting past the Flames by now. It’s actualyl quite remarkable just how bad they are, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around.

        I still think they have nucleus there and could significantly alter that team with some “bold” moves, but apparently, that was all cheap talk.

        I honestly think that the org is paralyzed with fear. They’re scared to death to move out one of those 1st overalls because it may come back to bite them. OK, understandable, but why aren’t they moving out some of their top prospects for some veteran help? Why aren’t they going after the Berras and Ramos of the world? It’s like, if they don’t draft it, theywon’t play it. I’m 100% for building through the draft, but it’s not the sole solution either.

        They should hire Feaster, he’s perfect at adding 3rd and 4th liners, support guys, etc.

        Speaking of which, where’s Rex at these days?

        • mattyc

          The Oilers at this point should be 1 or 2 moves away from being a player & making some noise in the playoffs. Hall & Eberle & Nugent-Hopkins all ooze in talent, no one questions it but they have yet to develop mentally and have not really accomplish anything to warrant 6.0mill per year each. Yes they will be worth that money, but it was soon. The Oilers have made the same mistake we did with Dion times 3. Nothing wrong if these kids had 2-3 year bridge contracts & pay them 3.0-3.5 mill per.
          Yaks is having your typical sophomore stuggling year. Expectations for all these kids because they were #1’s is ludicrous. Got to hand it to Colorado, Mackinnon had as much hype as any of the Oilers #1 picks & the Avs have the vets & the players to bring this kid in on the 3rd line & let him develop properly. the Oiler kids were thrown into top 6 right off the hop with maybe the exception of Eberle.
          What a mess they have now. yeah where is that Rex 🙂 I wouldn’t mind getting into what value some of these Oiler kids might have 🙂

  • everton fc

    I think you are wrong on Eric Roy keeping up his pace. I believe he will. He’s +2, as well, mostly because he’s scoring, though mostly assists (Pulock is the one scoring goals on the backend in Brandon).

    I also like Rene Hunter, another d-man on the Wheat Kings. He’s a tough kid, will stick up for his teammates… More “stay-at-home” versus offencive minded. But I do like him.

    Poirier is quite a find. He’ll play hard every evening. He’ll defend his team mates, and himself. He’ll be a nice NHL player someday.

    Anyone think Colborne has been given the minutes Backlund should be getting because of Burke? In other words, has Burke decided Backlund’s not part of the Flames future plans – part of the past – and has decided to give Colborne Backlund’s minutes until he [Burke] can find a home for him [Backlund]?

    Thoughts?

    • piscera.infada

      “Anyone think Colborne has been given the minutes Backlund should be getting because of Burke?”

      I think Colborne’s been getting those minutes in the name of development. I don’t want to get into the whole Backlund argument again – I agree, he (Backlund) should be getting more minutes with better linemates.

      I just find it somewhat laughable that many people on this site have constantly railed against playing Backlund in a limited role or sitting him (vis-a-vis Colborne’s icetime) as running contra-the rebuild. Yet, if there is a guy in our organization right now who needs to show what he can do in every situation it’s probably Colborne. We picked this kid up from a situation where he didn’t really have the opportunity, he’s a little bit older in terms of our other prospects, and no one seems to really know what his style of play is. To me, if the organization can assess what he is and what his ceiling might be, then at least we know more about what we need, and where other pieces may fit in. Thus, I don’t think that giving Colborne de facto “line 1”, “line 2-a”, “line 2-b” – whatever you want to call it – minutes is a bad call from anyone.

      Honestly, I’ve been impressed – far more impressed than I thought I’d be – with what he’s done once he’s “gotten his bearings under him”.

      • SmellOfVictory

        Backlund is roughly 9 months older than Colborne. That’s why this “development” thing is kind of silly in this case. You have two guys who are relatively close in age, hitting their peak years, and Backlund is clearly better than Colborne at this point (just as he was clearly better last season than Colborne has been this season).

        It’s not unthinkable that Colborne will turn out better, but it’s highly unlikely.

        • piscera.infada

          Granted. At the same time though, Backlund has been a part of this organization since he was drafted. Colborne has been here all of a month and a bit. That’s why I’m saying that seeing what he has, at his age, is not a horrible idea. I would be just as upset if he was being relegated to goonery, precisely because he wasn’t given a great opportunity to show what he was in TO or Boston.

          I mean, perhaps you get a second line centre out of him, perhaps you don’t. I’m just saying, if we’re going to use this narrative of development, it applies to Colborne as well.

          @the-wolf

          I agree with you on Stajan (not necessarily to the Leafs, but that’s besides the point). It would ease a great deal of this if he drew the short-straw. But I don’t think he’s long for this organization – and you don’t want to hurt whatever trade value he does have.

          • mattyc

            I agree completely. I’m a little surprised they haven’t tried one of them on the wing yet. Backlund played very well on the wing with Berglund in Sveeden.

    • Parallex

      I think it’s a strong possibility.

      I’ve already said in a prior topic that the treatment of Backlund reeks of Burke. It strikes me as quite possible that Hartley is getting pressure from up on high to play Colborne more (’cause he’s a “Burke guy”) and thus Hartley has to cut someones time… they don’t want to cut Stajan’s ’cause he’s tradebait and needs showcasing, and the optics of cutting Monahan’s time would be really bad after going over the 9 game threshold so that leaves him with no other choice.

      Of course the possibility still exists that Hartley is just an idiot and this is all just conspiracy nonsense. We’ll never know since no one would ever tell us anytime except long after it loses any relevance.

      In what is surely a first… I agree with clyde. Even if it involves moving him (or someone) temporarily to wing they need to get him away from the goons and grinders line and into a spot where he can play more minutes. Someone needs to get traded.

  • everton fc

    I’m hoping Backlund is moved off that line soon even if it has to be to the wing. I get that he has to beat out one of Stajan or Colborne as Monahan needs to have a top 9 spot but He is way more valuable playing top 9 minutes than propping up a 4rth line for 3-6 minutes a night. Perhaps we can catch the Leafs in desperation mode here soon and move them Stajan or Cammy for a strong return?I also hope to see Klimchuk moved to a contender at some point this year.

  • everton fc

    @Piscera and Parallex – IMO, it’s Stajan who should be sunk down the depth chart as I have nothing against Colborne. And while I get the argument for seeing what you’ve got and developing him, Backlund is still just 24, a first round pick and needs development (ie. lots of minutes) himself.

    • Parallex

      I completely agree except that I think they should try to trade Stajan. I wonder if Toronto is on Stajan’s NTC list? I mean with Bozak and Bolland on LTIR you’d think they’d want someone like him (Stajan).

  • AF

    I’d say prospect wise things are looking up.

    Our centre situation with the Flames is a bit strange. I wouldn’t really play anyone less than ten minutes or more than twenty. We don’t really have a first line centre or a fourth line centre. Spread around the minutes I think and see what happens within the course of a period or two.

    • piscera.infada

      That’s the argument to be made. But as long as Jackman and McGrattan are consistently drawing into the lineup, it’s basically moot. I wouldn’t mind it at all if they waived Jackman or traded him for peanuts, brought someone up from the ‘A, and kept McGrattan for some games where a heavy wouldn’t be a bad thing in addition to his attitude in the locker room – which by all accounts is great.

  • mattyc

    This is an interesting article, what it gives is us fans some hope into the future and a glimpse into the future of the Flames. What many of us would like to see is the AHL guys get a real look at the NHL level and the we will have a clearer picture. Right now we have a pretty good idea what we have with Monahan, Sven and Bouma but would like to see what Knight and others cn bring to the table.

  • Brent G.

    I absolutely do not agree with how they are treating Backlund and hope this doesn’t lead to him giving up on the organization by asking for a trade. This log jam is somewhat short sighted as well. It’s safe to say Stajan will either be traded or not resigned and leave at the end of the year. This should give him more time when something happens but hopefully it’s not too late.

    Just for curiosity what is the ceiling everyone pictures backlund achieving? Ideally I could see a 3rd line hard minutes centre. Ideally it would be great to see Monahan in a 2nd line role long term and a first line star of Mcdavid. I can only dream of something like that happening though…

    • Parallex

      His high ceiling is probably a Kesler type Hard Minute Center… but he’d need a talent cast of characters around him to make those point totals. More achievable ceiling… Bolland? He’s a quality player even on a quality team in either event.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Someone mentioned shifting Backs to wing where he posted great numbers riding shotgun with Berglund during the strike. I love that idea. In fact the suggestion of Backlund, Sven & Monahan line sounded like a great idea. Possibly a line of the future. Hudler has been great but put him with Cobourne & Cammi. See what happens.

        • Parallex

          “Someone mentioned shifting Backs to wing where he posted great numbers riding shotgun with Berglund during the strike. I love that idea.”

          I’m probably in the minority here, but I absolutely hate this idea. Backlund is a center. His value is derived from his two-way game. There is more value to a two-way center than a two-way winger. Moreover, I’ve never liked his game on the wing. It’s hard to say exactly why, but he seems to lose an entire dimension. Finally, the Flames are ridiculously stacked on the wing. If Mickis moves over, we’ll be complaining about Baertschi playing on the 4th. It is NOT a solution. It merely causes a new problem.

          • piscera.infada

            Moving him out is clearly what’s happening here, but management has to be patient in that regard. You might be able to pull a reasonable coup under the right circumstances – but you obviously need those circumstances to develop, you can’t just force your hand by saying “he’s gone”. Moreover, the last thing you would want if your Feaster is to be trading a “fourth line centre” instead of a “second line centre”.

          • piscera.infada

            I hear you, but I’m not so sure that the return for Stajan even as a “2nd line centre” is going to be all that fabulous vs just getting rid of the player, though I may well be wrong.

            However, to get some sort of decent value for him probably means waiting until the trade deadline, at which point one has to ask, is it worth it vs the loss of development for Backlund?

            Maybe it won’t affect Backlund at all, but again, I don’t see getting anything so substantial in return for Stajan that I wouldn’t just ship him out to the first taker.

          • piscera.infada

            I agree, I don’t think you get “second line centre” return for him, but by “the right circumstances” I mean that you wait for a team with an injury to their first or second line centre. That way, Stajan has great value as a third line centre (with relative upside) who could fill in for a month or two as a second line centre. I see that as maximizing his value, as I don’t think he’s really a “playoff rental” type player, nor is he a guy an organization takes a flier on in a trade to resign at the end of the season.

            Thus, dealing him is a delicate situation. As you pointed out, he really has little value unless a team needs him, as opposed to wanting him. As such, if your plan as an organization is to trade him at the trade deadline as a diminished-return-rental, then you might as well play him on the fourth line. Likewise, if you’re just going to let his contract run out, then the pragmatic choice is again fourth line duty. We’ll just have to wait and see.

            I also don’t know what his NTC includes, is it limited or modified? Or, is it a full no-trade? That could make this all moot.

          • Parallex

            “I also don’t know what his NTC includes, is it limited or modified? Or, is it a full no-trade?”

            Capgeek says modified.

            I’m not so sure about him not being willing to go back to TO. I mean he was traded for the guy they pretty much immediately made captain (so they didn’t trade him for a bag of pucks), the management that “gave up on him” (AKA Burke) is here not there, and they’re (at least by W/L record) a playoff contender, and he’d be stepping into a situation where he’ll get minutes (maybe even PP time).

            From TO’s perspective now would be the ideal time to pick him up because with two guys out if one or both return by the trade deadline they can trade him and recoup some of the cost of getting him in the first place. If they can offload Liles contract at the same time that’s a really good deal for them (and the cap space that Liles eats up meaningless to us).

          • piscera.infada

            The “right circumstances” is a team missing two of its top three centers. Ie: Toronto.

            Any trade with the Leafs would likely require taking salary (read: Liles) back. But that only pushes the return higher.

          • piscera.infada

            I agree, Toronto seems reasonable (see above – I didn’t see your response until after I wrote that), and I agree that taking back salary pushes the return higher.

            As I said though, I’m not sure what his NTC includes. Would he even be willing to go back to Toronto? I would assume not likely, as the gave up on him for all intents and purposes.

    • Hate to crash your dreams Brent but I would put money that Buffalo are out of the gate & leading in the McDavid sweepstakes. I suggest we try to catch some of the wreckage as they self destruct. Tyler Myers would be a nice piece to catch.